Zirra Spotlight On Ring

Ring offers a battery-operated Wi-Fi-enabled video doorbell. Users install Ring’s device next to their front doors, and when visitors press the button they can see and speak with them from anywhere in the world using their mobile device and Ring’s iOS or Android apps. The camera installed in Ring doorbells connects to Wi-Fi, and allows for streaming of live audio and video. The devices also include motion sensing capabilities from up to 30 feet away, and has night vision abilities. Previously called Doorbot, Ring offers multiple versions of their device, and aims to give customers added convenience, monitoring capabilities, and security.

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Competitive Position: Wireless doorbells is a growing market, with a number of competitors at different levels. Ring’s closest competitors also offer Wi-Fi enabled doorbells with video capabilities, and include SkyBell (undisclosed “millions” in funding), August ($48M raised), Yale Security (founded 1840), HeathZenith, and German company Doorbird. Many wireless doorbells are sold without advanced capabilities like video and Wi-Fi connectivity, from brands including Jacob Jensen, SadoTech, YAWALL, Magicfly, and others. With Ring’s functions including home security and cameras, they may find some competition in smart home companies that do not offer wireless doorbells specifically, such as Nest (acquired in 2014 by Google).

Inside Scoops: Ring, then called Doorbot, appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013 in an attempt to raise $700K at a $7M valuation, but failed to gain an investment through the show. Soon after, the company successfully raised funding. Ring Founder & CEO Siminoff tells that in 2015, a Ring customer who was vacationing at billionaire Richard Branson’s island used Ring to talk to a delivery person at his home in San Francisco. Branson saw the interaction and was impressed by the product. He reached out to Siminoff, and within 48 hours of making contact asked to join the company’s Series B round as an investor.

Market Forecast & Exit Indicators: Ring is in a growing industry. According to research from MarketsandMarkets, the smart home market is expected to reach USD 121.73 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 14.07% between 2016 and 2022. According to a media report from March 2016, Ring Founder & CEO Jamie Siminoff declined to disclose the company’s valuation in the latest round of funding, but confirmed that the reported valuation at the time of about $200 million was close. Siminoff also said that Ring is planning an initial public offering of its shares by the end of 2017.

Investor Positions: Ring investors include Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson, who has a net worth of $4.8 billion. Other investors include Shea Ventures, which is the venture capital offshoot of J.F. Shea Co., which operates major homebuilding company Shea Homes. Another home-related investor is American Family Insurance, which could potentially offer Ring’s service to customers to reduce home insurance rates. C round investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) has invested in companies including AOL, Amazon, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Google, Nest, Netscape, and Twitter.

Business & Marketing Strategy: The company has said that they sell over 50,000 doorbells a month, with growth in the “hundreds of percentage points”. The company also claims to be able to support their current business on sales alone, with funding used for R&D. LinkedIn shows 413% growth in the number of Ring employees over the last two years, strengthening the company’s claims of strong revenue and growth. LinkedIn shows 168 Ring employees, but other sources have said there are about 300. Over the last two years the biggest growth has been in the number of Ring employees working in Sales and Marketing, with increases of 7% and 2% out of the overall employee base, along with an 8% decline in Engineering employees. The company has mentioned plans to improve software for the security side of their product, such as better facial recognition for doorbell cameras, so that users can get notifications on their phone telling them when specific people are at the door.

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Assaf Gilad

An ex-journalist from Calcalist, a leading business and tech news outlet in Israel, I'm now writing about startups for Zirra.com.